Original Research - Special Collection: Studies on the Bible, spirituality and mysticism

Spirituality, shifting identities and social change: Cases from the Kalahari landscape

Mary E. Lange, Lauren Dyll-Myklebust
HTS Teologiese Studies / Theological Studies | Vol 71, No 1 | a2985 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/hts.v71i1.2985 | © 2015 Mary E. Lange, Lauren Dyll-Myklebust | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 01 April 2015 | Published: 21 September 2015

About the author(s)

Mary E. Lange, ARROWSA: Art, Culture & Heritage for Peace, South Africa; Centre for Communication, Media and Society, University of KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa
Lauren Dyll-Myklebust, ARROWSA: Art, Culture & Heritage for Peace, South Africa; Centre for Communication, Media and Society, University of KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa


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Abstract

Storytelling, art and craft can be considered aesthetic expressions of identities. Kalahari identities are not fixed, but fluid. Research with present-day Kalahari People regarding their artistic expression and places where it has been, and is still, practised highlights that these expressions are informed by spirituality. This article explores this idea via two Kalahari case studies: Water Stories recorded in the Upington, Kakamas area, as well as research on a specific rock engraving site at Biesje Poort near Kakamas. The importance of the Kalahari People’s spiritual beliefs as reflected in these case studies and its significance regarding their identities and influence on social change and/or community development projects is discussed. The article thus highlights ways in which spirituality can be considered in relation to social change projects that are characterised by partnerships between local community, non-government and tertiary education representatives and researchers and that highlight storytelling as an integral part of people’s spirituality.

Keywords

spirituality; identity; storytelling; art; place; social change; Kalahari people

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